Friends say pressure may have gotten best of firefighter - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Friends say pressure may have gotten best of firefighter

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Albany- For the past 17 years Reginald Collier has worked at the Albany Fire Department. The 38 year old worked his way up to the rank of lieutenant. Before he went on sick leave last May he worked out of station number four on Gordon Avenue, just down the street from his apartment.

Medical privacy laws prevent city officials from saying why Lt. Collier went on sick leave, but friends say he had several surgeries on the vertebrae in his back and neck which prevented him from working.

"The first 12 weeks that he was out he was on the family medical leave and then he has been out, and he has exhausted his sick and vacation," says compensation and benefits manager Shane Tucker.

After those 12 weeks Collier began using the sick and vacation time he had accrued over his 17 year career, but that ran out last month. Friends say earlier this week he had expressed concern about not having any income while he was recovering.

Tucker says Lt. Collier did apply for the city's sick leave transfer program twice last month. It would allow other city employees to donate their sick leave time to Collier. Tucker says the first application was denied because Collier wanted it applied to a previous illness. The second was approved just yesterday after business hours. But Collier had no idea when he barricaded himself inside his apartment Friday morning.

"He wouldn't know. I've taken steps as early as this morning to contact the department. The department has put in the hours into the system for him to be paid. We have in fact have the payment available to him," says Tucker.

WALB has also learned that on Monday, Collier was arrested by Albany Police for disorderly conduct while intoxicated. It's a misdemeanor and he spent the night in the Dougherty County jail.

Friends and co-workers say Collier is a good man and hard worker and that the pressures of life may have gotten to him.

Lt. Reginald Collier was born in Cordele and has two children.

Posted at 7:05 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com